Paul Simpson said first impressions of Georgie Kelly in a Carlisle United shirt suggested the striker will be a “handful” for opponents.

The deadline-day signing finally made his Blues bow as a substitute in the win at Peterborough United after recovering from injury.

It has been a frustrating spell for Kelly and United since his move from Rotherham United but his cameo at the Weston Homes Stadium gave positive glimpses of what the Blues can expect, said Simpson.

“He looks a handful, he looks a real threat. He’s got a hunger about him,” said Carlisle’s manager.

“He’s a bit of an old-school striker in a way. But it was a great effort when he tried to chip the keeper too.

“We’re really fortunate to have him in the group. We’ve got to manage him and keep him right.

News and Star: Georgie Kelly came on for his debut at Peterborough, nearly two months after joining UnitedGeorgie Kelly came on for his debut at Peterborough, nearly two months after joining United (Image: Richard Parkes)

“I would imagine we will only see the best of him next season, but it’s good to get him involved.”

A calf injury in recent months means Kelly’s outing against Posh was his first appearance in first-team football since his final sub appearance for previous club Rotherham United against Stoke City in the Championship on January 13.

Simpson hopes the 27-year-old Irish frontman can help share the attacking burden with record signing Luke Armstrong.

United’s boss will now weigh up a place in the squad for Kelly tomorrow against Lincoln City, when the ex-Bohemians favourite will be hoping to make his home debut.

On Good Friday, the striker came off the bench to help Carlisle keep Posh at bay as the Cumbrians saw through an impressive 3-1 victory.

Simpson felt the outcome vindicated an attack-minded approach against a dangerous home side.

“Before the game, everybody probably would have thought we'd come and try and shut up shop and go with a back five or even a back seven and just keep it tight,” he said.

News and Star: Kelly will now hope to make his home debut against Lincoln on MondayKelly will now hope to make his home debut against Lincoln on Monday (Image: Richard Parkes)

“But we decided to go with the front three to try and give them a problem. And I think it did.

“That was the case even in the way forward players had to do a shift, because Harrison Burrows and Jadel Katongo, the full-backs, get forward and are a threat.

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“But I thought the shape that we went with worked really well.

“Towards the end, we've stuck Georgie on to go with two strikers – when they were throwing that much forward, we felt as though we might get a little break.

“And we nearly did. I still believe it's a penalty on Gibbo [Jordan Gibson, who went down under a challenge from home keeper Jed Steer]. I just do not get that.

“But there were a lot of good things that hopefully we can build on.”